Mike Brown 11-6
I am going to piggyback onto Krystal's response as to her college experience. I joined the military in 1984. There was no GI Bill at that time. The education program was called VEAP…and it sucked. The program basically paid out $2 dollars for every dollar contributed. Needless to say, there were very few takers. Luckily (or unluckily) when I retired, I had a myriad of various injuries and surgical repairs/replacements that allowed me to also enter the Voc Rehab program…after three years of fighting the government of course. Just like Krystal, I also had to take remedial math classes in order to get to the point of taking college math. However, I ended up taking statistics instead of algebra thinking it would be easier…BIG MISTAKE. I would also say that the remedial math classes had absolutely nothing to do with statistics…therefore the remedial classes were a waste of time for me personally. As far as my overall take on remedial classes, I can tell first hand after working with 1301 students at Del Mar that there is definitely a big gap in the abilities of the various students in the classes that I teach. Some students can work independently and have little trouble with their writings. On the other hand, some of the students to this day still have a problem just setting up a header and heading on their papers, much less actually creatively writing to a given prompt. In chapter 5 by Otte & Mlynarczyk, there is a section that talks about anticipating the need for basic writing support in the future. Personally, I cannot see how colleges can do away with remedial programs, especially in English. Students have to be able to read and write papers in pretty much all of their various courses that they are taking in college. Remedial English classes are going to support and assist those students who enter college at deficient reading/writing levels that are critical to the students in order to thrive and succeed at the college level. Reading through this section, it is easy to see that there is definitely going to be a greater need for remedial level courses at the college level. The statistics from various research proves the point over and over. Again, looking back at my personal college experience, I started in fall of 2007. I graduated high school in 1984. I initially struggled with coursework as a result of the lapse of time between my graduating high school and entering college. Four years later I am finishing my Masters. Personally, I believe that college is a mindset that the student has to make for him or herself. In the end, I personally feel that without remedial classes for the students in college that actually need the classes, a majority of those students would end up not making it. They would get frustrated and quit or end up dropping classes. I have had some students that were failing 1301 and dropped. Personally, I hope that they roll back to the highest English remedial class so that they will be better prepared the next time. Otherwise, they will always struggle in all of their classes where they are expected to be able to write on a college level.
Kohut's response 11-08
The future of basic writing: who really knows what will happen beyond the given that people will still be arguing about this issue that no one has yet been able to define, but that effects a great deal of the population coming into college classrooms! As someone who teaches middle-schoolers, I am trying to think of or remember any early signs I have ever noticed about instruction at my grade level which would potentially play into the notion of basic writing. I found Lalicker’s different levels of the basic writing model to be a good starting point in thinking about where I see my students on these different levels. I think the studio model may be where my students are in their classes at school. They are moving from class to class and sometimes they are together and sometimes they are in completely different configurations. However, whereas those students are focusing primarily on writing and strengthening their basic writing skills, my students may not ever really do any composition work outside of my classroom. Is it any wonder than that it is not reflected in the work they do in other classes?
Another big problem with thinking and thinking and then thinking some more about basic writers-it generally leads to shuffling and shuffling and shuffling them some more. After some time how can they feel that they belong anywhere? This type of shuffling also never establishes a true feeling of home and where better do we wrote than somewhere we are comfortable and feel safe?
Is basic writing a self-fulfilling prophecy? For some I think that it is. When you feel like you can write anything almost any way and it doesn’t make a difference whether it is really good or really bad because to will always be judged as the writing of a basic writer, then that is a problem. But how can we fix something that we cannot even really define or find some common thread with which to unite our strategies? That student cannot win! Thinking about the future of basic writing makes me also wonder about the future of the basic writer when he is finally out of the program that is supposed to be helping him but may not be at all. I know that I have brought up this study in at least two of my prior posts, but I cannot help but think about the compare/contrast study between basic writers and older people in the work force who were considered competent writers by their peers. The results of the study IKNOW were supposed to show how a basic writer can hope to mature in the future, but how can anyone predict how stigmatizing basic writing labels can be if not conscientiously used? Either that or maybe the basic writer just really does not care about being a basic writer and it is actually everyone else who will not let go of this “oh poor basic writer,” thing. The basic writer does not care as much as the rest of us wish that he would and he does not want to strive for writing voice or authenticity or anything else. Maybe. He. Just. Wants. To. Be. Left. Alone.
Well here I am over analyzing this basic writer-thing while the basic writer may even be recovering quite nicely from the supposed trauma of basic writing to scribble something down another day. What is the point of this mini diatribe? The future of basic writing is going to be shaped by the people who care in some way about it. They may not always get it right, but they will keep on trying and learning from their mistakes in labeling, differentiating, etc. Just like the basic writer himself!